The last afternoon at Jaipur

William Dalrymple tells us what last Tuesday afternoon in Jaipur was like.

It was the last afternoon of the Jaipur Literature Festival, of which I am co-director, and more than 10,000 people were milling around the grounds of Diggi Palace, the festival venue, eagerly waiting to hear Salman Rushdie speak by video link from London. For three weeks we had waited anxiously for this moment, ever since Maulana Abdul Qasim Nomani of the Deoband madrasa had called for the Indian Muslim community to oppose Rushdie’s visit to our festival…

Then at about one o’clock a large number of Muslim activists appeared in the property and gravitated to the back of the lawns where a huge crowd had gathered to hear the videolink. Some of them went into the central courtyard of the palace to make their namaz (pray), and according to some reports, the maulana in charge told his followers that if anyone was killed that day they would die a martyr. Then they sought out our producer, Sanjoy Roy, and told him that they were prepared to use any amount of violence in order to stop Rushdie’s voice being heard. Others talked to the press: one told a reporter from the Times of India that “rivers of blood will flow here if they show Rushdie”, while the Muslim Manch representative Abdul Salim Sankhla was quoted as saying: “We will not allow Rushdie to speak here in any form. There will be violent protests if he speaks.” While all this was happening, some of the other activists were turfing school children out of their seats and intimidating festival guests. [Read more…]

A protection racket

The LSE student paper reports on the cartoons and free speech and “Islamophobia” and shut-uppery affair. It has details.

On 20th January, members of ASH Society met with Stanley Ellerby-English, Students’ Union Activities and Development Officer, who explained “the situation, the complaints that had been made and how the action of posting these cartoons was in breach of the Students’ Union policy on inclusion and the society’s constitution.” The society agreed to certain outcomes, though these have not been disclosed yet; however, the Students’ Union will “now be telling the society that they cannot continue these actions under the brand of the SU.” [Read more…]

One stop shopping

I’ve done a lot of posts about all this shut-uppery at UCL and Queen Mary U and LSE. I thought it might be useful to collect them all in one place.